YPFP and the Boren Forum Host First Partnership Series on U.S. Intelligence

By Matthew Parin
posted on November 12, 2013 in Professional/Career Development, Security/Intelligence

For three consecutive Mondays in August -- when most of Washington has fled the city for more temperate locales -- a group of 25 members of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP) and the Boren Forum gathered in the board room at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to discuss and debate the roles of intelligence in America’s national security process. With sessions led by Dr. William Nolte, Ms. Rachel Ingber, and Mr. Mark Young, the series sought to deepen the participants’ knowledge of the U.S. Intelligence Community, broaden their understanding of the intelligence process, and clarify the role of intelligence in national security decisions.

This first-ever joint partnership between YPFP and the Boren Forum provided an atmosphere where everyone could engage in an atmosphere free of titles -- all the while striving to gain a more thorough understanding of intelligence and an appreciation for the individuals who devote their lives to the work of the “quiet professional.”

Dr. William Nolte from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy kicked off the series with a discussion on the 16 agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community and an overview of the five primary sources of intelligence information. Dr. Nolte’s experience as a former senior executive with the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other agencies gave attendees the opportunity to address not only the academic aspects of intelligence but also to understand some of the challenges.

In the second session, Ms. Rachel Ingber from the National Intelligence Council (NIC) led a vigorous discussion on intelligence support to U.S. policymakers, from the President to deployed military commanders. As the current National Intelligence Officer for Iran, Ms. Ingber’s examples, taken from a career of service, moved the conversation from theory to the realm of practice. Ms. Ingber showed how the entire intelligence process — with its spies, satellites, analysts, and agencies — all flowed to the important daily meetings between national security principles and the career intelligence professionals whose job is to provide unvarnished assessments on developments worldwide.

Mr. Mark Young of Ronin Analytics, LLC closed out the series with a detailed discussion on the National Security Council (NSC) and its various committees. Having served in both the executive and legislative branches of government, Mr. Young aided participants’ exploration of the NSC’s inner workings, its personnel, their relationships, their contributions, and the role of intelligence at each point in America's national security process.

The YPFP-Boren Forum mini-module on the Intelligence Community earned praise and high marks from participants. One commented that this was “an exceptional networking opportunity, highly educational, and very much appreciated.” Another participant said that they were “very satisfied -- and would be interested in hearing more about the challenges in intelligence.” Both organizations are looking forward to offering another module in the upcoming months. For more information about YPFP and the Boren Forum, please visit our websites at https://ypfp.org/ and http://www.borenforum.org/.